"How Spiders Increase Plant Diversity" - In Defense of Plants

Goldenrod, or Solidago sphacelata 'Golden Fleece,' blooms beautifully in August-September, and works best in an environment where its growth rate is moderated by the presence of functional pests and competition from other native plant species.

Goldenrod, or Solidago sphacelata 'Golden Fleece,' blooms beautifully in August-September, and works best in an environment where its growth rate is moderated by the presence of functional pests and competition from other native plant species.

Recently, Heidi, a member of Refugia's Land Management team, shared this interesting post from the blog, In Defense of Plants, written by Matt Candeias. The article, "How Spiders Increase Plant Diversity," highlights the importance of predation in a balanced ecosystem. By promoting habitat diversity and minimizing our chemical inputs, Refugia aims to support biodiverse communities that retain the ecological complexities of the natural world. We recommend taking a look at Candeias' snapshot of the dynamic relationships between grasshoppers, spiders, and goldenrod (Solidago spp.), and leaving spiders be when you spot them in your landscape! 

A sneak peek: 

"The researchers found that when spiders were present, overall plant diversity increased. This is not because the spiders ate more grasshoppers. Instead, it's because the grasshoppers shifted to a diet of goldenrod, which knocked the goldenrod back just enough to allow other plants to establish. It's not just plant diversity that changed either. Spiders also caused an increase in both solar radiation and nitrogen reaching the soils!"